28th April

FJ Williams Profile Picture
FJW 1955-2007
CH Williams Profile Picture
CHW 2015-
JC Williams Profile Picture
JCW 1897-1939
C Williams Profile Picture
CW 1940-1955

2020 – CHW

In a ‘war’ there will always be profiteering and skulduggery. The insurance industry have belatedly got their PR machine to operate to tell us how much they will be paying out for the corona (£1.2bn).

It is a total lie of course because very very few businesses have any ‘business interruption’ cover for something like corona. Those who might have, and thought that they did, have had their claims denied.

The insurers and Lloyds are not going to pay up to businesses, and why should they, despite what will be a torrent of legal battles and pressure on the government to ‘do something’ (as for flood victims insurance in a government backed scheme). Read the contract!

Since few people are driving their cars the main vehicle insurers are coining it on the lack of motor insurance accidents (or whiplash/bogus) claims. Let us see how they lower premiums for next year? Do not hold your breath!

And then there are the travel companies, airlines, railways etc who are using people’s prepaid cash (and mine) to not refund what they have not delivered.

The insurance industry’s media claims over the weekend should be seen for what they are. Defensive profiteering!

No doubt the BBC will help them to promote this as another ‘entitlement’.

Looking at Tunnel Field today at Burncoose with my brother and Rob Toy. Rob will spray the brambles off and we will then slash them down and spray any regrowth. Early next spring we will plant this 2 acre field as a new yellow magnolia garden which should be a new first for Cornwall to flower in April and May. My brother wants to restore the tunnel under the gardens to this field so that this can eventually be the public access. In the meantime a small path from the main drive. A few specimen conifers with the yellow magnolias and, later on, big clumps of tall growing rhododendrons. A great new project for the garden.

Looking good in the nursery today:

Ribes speciosum

Ribes speciosum
Ribes speciosum
Telopea ‘Shady Lady White’
Telopea ‘Shady Lady White’
Telopea ‘Shady Lady White’
Calothamnus quadrifidus – first flowers ever with us on the ‘one sided bottlebrush’.
Calothamnus quadrifidus
Calothamnus quadrifidus
Our first plants in stock of Pseudotaxus chienii.
Pseudotaxus chienii
Pseudotaxus chienii
First flowers here on Amelanchier alnifolia ‘Obelisk’.
Amelanchier alnifolia ‘Obelisk’
Amelanchier alnifolia ‘Obelisk’
Weigelia ‘Black and White’ nicely out.
Weigelia ‘Black and White’
Weigelia ‘Black and White’
Attractive new growth on Tristianopsis laurina.
Tristianopsis laurina
Tristianopsis laurina

I attach email correspondence with James Garnett from the Service des Espaces Verts et de l’Environnement (SEVE) in Nantes about Michelias with his pictures. At issue is the variation in the forms of Michelia doltsopa and whether the big plant here of Michelia floribunda is actually that species.

From: James Garnett
Sent: 16 April 2020 15:55
To: Charles Williams PA
Subject: Re: Magnolia martinii
[…]
I hope everyone is ok at Caerhays, here in France it’s starting to calm down a bit.. I’m only aloud to work in the arboretum twice a week, sometines only once, so it’s quit frustrating.
Thank god we have good french wine to help us cope with that situation..
Since I’m stuck at home most of the time, I’ve been working on difficult botany subjects like Michelias for example.
And just before the start of the crisis we went to a nursery in brittany (Arven) and he has a few mother plants at the back. We’ve seen different species, all from seeds collected in China, some from the Kunming Botanical Garden. And finally we’ve seen a true Magnolia floribunda in flower with its typical star shaped white flower and leaves with a silvery underside. I’ve read your article on Michelias in the IDS Yearbook 2017, I find it very interesting, it shows how difficult Michelias are to identify. Considering what I’ve seen in Europe and China, I don’t think your plant at Caerhays is Magnolia floribunda. At that same nursery we’ve also seen 2 different forms of Magnolia doltsopa, one white, similar to the old ones you have at Caerhays and one more yellowish. The next week, we went to the amazing arboretum of “La Roche Fauconnière” in Cherbourg and there, they have a big Magnolia doltsopa, planted in 1967 and it is a bit different from everything I’ve seen… I tend to conclud that M. doltsopa is a very variable species. At that same garden they also a huge Magnolia lanuginosa (Michelia velutina) with a copious amount of seeds in late winter. Do you have that species? if not we can keep one for you.
[…]

From: Charles Williams PA
Sent: 17 April 2020 13:52
To: ‘James Garnett’
Subject: RE: Magnolia martinii
[…]
The Michelia doltsopa puzzle which I wrote about was mainly prompted by Maurice Foster who strongly maintains that the larger plants at Caerhays at the top of the garden should be classified as Michelia manipurensis because of the velvety indumentum on the undersides of the leaves etc. The three other mature Michelias growing above the greenhouse are all a bit different to each other and very different indeed to what Maurice thinks is manipurensis. Tom’s view is that all the plants at Caerhays, including the one we call Michelia floribunda, are forms of doltsopa. He may, or may not, be right and this provides us with plenty of entertainment in future arguments.
[…]

2019 – CHW
Much of the spraying around young plants in the garden now complete. Along the way Jaimie discovered:How well the bluebells are now doing in full shade in the top section of Forty Acres Wood which was destroyed in the 1990 hurricane and replanted soon afterwards mainly with beech.

bluebells
bluebells
Some very odd fungi in a clump. I wish I knew more about these. Why in the spring?
fungi
fungi
First proper flowering of Michelia ‘Fairy Blush’.
Michelia ‘Fairy Blush’
Michelia ‘Fairy Blush’
Camellia reticulata ‘Lary Piet’ – a new one to us.
Camellia reticulata ‘Lary Piet’
Camellia reticulata ‘Lary Piet’
Camellia reticulata ‘Lovely Lady’ – ditto.
Camellia reticulata ‘Lovely Lady’
Camellia reticulata ‘Lovely Lady’
I have often wondered how many of the original Wilson 50 evergreen azaleas we actually have tucked away in the older parts of the garden. The plants in the Rookery are elderly and many have been hit by falling beech trees. In my lifetime no one has ever known what any of these were actually called but I suspect they are Wilson 50 albeit rather poor plants by modern standards. Richard Morton at Trewidden is assembling the full 50 so he may perhaps be able to identify some of them? Here are eight different ones – some not that different perhaps but possibly all still unique originals?
evergreen azaleas
evergreen azaleas
evergreen azaleas
evergreen azaleas
evergreen azaleas
evergreen azaleas
evergreen azaleas
evergreen azaleas
evergreen azaleas
evergreen azaleas
evergreen azaleas
evergreen azaleas
evergreen azaleas
evergreen azaleas
evergreen azaleas
evergreen azaleas
evergreen azaleas
evergreen azaleas
evergreen azaleas
evergreen azaleas
evergreen azaleas
evergreen azaleas
evergreen azaleas
evergreen azaleas
evergreen azaleas
evergreen azaleas
evergreen azaleas
evergreen azaleas
evergreen azaleas
evergreen azaleas
Interesting, in the last days of April, to still find the last few camellia flowers on:
Camellia ‘Noblissima’ (first out November)
Camellia ‘Noblissima’ (first out November)
Camellia ‘Noblissima’ (first out November)
Camellia ‘Lady Clare’ (first out December)
Camellia ‘Lady Clare’ (first out December)
Camellia ‘Lady Clare’ (first out December)
The original wild collected Camellia saluenensis (pale form) (first out November)
The original wild collected Camellia saluenensis (pale form) (first out November)
The original wild collected Camellia saluenensis (pale form) (first out November)
Camellia ‘Cornish Snow’ (first out late November)
Camellia ‘Cornish Snow’ (first out late November)
Camellia ‘Cornish Snow’ (first out late November)
Camellia ‘Mary Jobson’ (first out January)
Camellia ‘Mary Jobson’ (first out January)
Camellia ‘Mary Jobson’ (first out January)
An incredibly long flowering season for any plant!

2018 – CHW
Off to Penvergate to view the best yellow magnolias.

Magnolia ‘Yellow Bird’ was sadly nearly over and I have missed it (planted 1997). The nearby Magnolia ‘Yellow Fever’ was not out yet (planted 1997).

Magnolia ‘Yellow Bird’
Magnolia ‘Yellow Bird’
Instead nearby was an excellent 2006 planted Magnolia ‘Sunburst’ performing really well and better than I have ever witnessed before.
Magnolia ‘Sunburst’
Magnolia ‘Sunburst’
Magnolia ‘Sunburst’
Magnolia ‘Sunburst’
Magnolia offinalis biloba still in bud too but many more buds (25) than ever before.
Magnolia offinalis biloba
Magnolia offinalis biloba
Magnolia offinalis biloba
Magnolia offinalis biloba
Magnolia offinalis biloba
Magnolia offinalis biloba
A very late Myrtus lechleriana just starting to flower. Other plants were out in late February. Wonderful bronzy new growth.
Myrtus lechleriana
Myrtus lechleriana
Myrtus lechleriana
Myrtus lechleriana
Back on the drive.
A newish Rhododendron neriiflorum full out.
Rhododendron neriiflorum
Rhododendron neriiflorum
Rhododendron oldhamii just showing too.
Rhododendron oldhamii
Rhododendron oldhamii
Magnolia ‘Daybreak’ with its first flowers out.
Magnolia ‘Daybreak’
Magnolia ‘Daybreak’
Magnolia ‘Daybreak’
Magnolia ‘Daybreak’
Rhododendron ‘Broughtonii’ grown from tissue culture and planted out three years ago are making good clumps and excellent progress.
Rhododendron ‘Broughtonii’
Rhododendron ‘Broughtonii’
Magnolia ‘Tikitere’ with its first flower on this plant.
Magnolia ‘Tikitere’
Magnolia ‘Tikitere’
Rhododendron ‘Emma Williams’ is mauve when full out but greenish yellow initially.
Rhododendron ‘Emma Williams’
Rhododendron ‘Emma Williams’
Rhododendron ‘Emma Williams’
Rhododendron ‘Emma Williams’
Scrambling up the bank above the drive and hidden away are three good pinkish Rhododendron sinogrande seedlings. Tree damaged a few years ago but a secret surprise.
Rhododendron sinogrande seedlings
Rhododendron sinogrande seedlings
Scrambling further up the bank to view a first time flowerer I am surprised to find it is Magnolia ‘Red Lion’. Our largest plant on Bond Street was out and over three weeks ago.
Magnolia ‘Red Lion’
Magnolia ‘Red Lion’
First flowers on another Magnolia lilliiflora ‘Holland Red’.
Magnolia lilliiflora ‘Holland Red’
Magnolia lilliiflora ‘Holland Red’
Magnolia ‘Plum Pudding’ ruined by the cold this year.
Magnolia ‘Plum Pudding’
Magnolia ‘Plum Pudding’
Nice vases of flowers for our weekend guests.
vases of flowers
vases of flowers
vases of flowers
vases of flowers

2017 – CHW
Amazingly some of the Echium pininana are already in flower and at least 12 feet tall. There was some white frost overnight, quickly burnt off in the early morning sun, but not enough to damage much or any new growth. Do echiums flower in April on Tresco? I wonder what the record height actually is?

Echium pininana
Echium pininana
Echium pininana
Echium pininana
Staphylea x elegans is also a late flowerer compared to the rest. A tinge of red apparently as the buds open but we are almost too late for that here and I forgot to do a close up that might have shown this.
Staphylea x elegans
Staphylea x elegans
Polyspora axialis (from Crug) was planted two years ago. Good new growth but it looks chlorotic. Perhaps this is normal for this rare new species?
Polyspora axialis
Polyspora axialis
Polyspora axialis
Polyspora axialis
Polyspora speciosa (from Crug) – no such problems here but a very floppy habit needing a good stake.
Polyspora speciosa
Polyspora speciosa
Polyspora speciosa
Polyspora speciosa
An Alan Clarke collection of Rhododendron concinnum var pseudoyanthinum Group – apparently. In the Pocket Guide it looks more like Rhododendron concinnum var benthamianum. Very different to the Burncoose plant by the pond anyway and easily mistaken for a pale Rhododendron augustinii.
Rhododendron concinnum var pseudoyanthinum Group
Rhododendron concinnum var pseudoyanthinum Group
Rhododendron concinnum var pseudoyanthinum Group
Rhododendron concinnum var pseudoyanthinum Group
Rhododendron concinnum var pseudoyanthinum Group
Rhododendron concinnum var pseudoyanthinum Group
I cannot locate the name of these three excellent loderi types with lovely peeling bark. Sparse flowers as yet but with initially frilly edges.
loderi types
loderi types
loderi types
loderi types
loderi types
loderi types
Rhododendron chapmanii full out in the sun. Dense habit and now a good clump.
Rhododendron chapmanii
Rhododendron chapmanii
Rhododendron chapmanii
Rhododendron chapmanii
The first of our three Magnolia ‘Daphne’ to be full out. It is arguably not as good as the Magnolia ‘Lois’ at Penrice Castle seen last week. More yellow but irregular flowers and too many leaves!
Magnolia ‘Daphne’
Magnolia ‘Daphne’
Magnolia ‘Daphne’
Magnolia ‘Daphne’

2016 – CHW
One day of ‘filming’ with a BBC crew from London who are prerecording rhododendron centenary clips for use in Chelsea Flower Show week TV broadcasts. For eight days they have to broadcast at least two hours of prime time TV so they need to bag a fair bit of it in advance. As expected the day is a write off in the cause of ‘publicity’.We start with two hours of drone filming which gets Karol excited as they have a very posh new drone in use. Whether we will ever get to see or obtain any of the stills from the overfly remains to be seen. We do three retakes of me walking through the arch from on high and picking off a few nearly dead flowers from a Rhododendron ‘Cornish Red’. Tedious!
BBC crew from London
BBC crew from London
BBC crew from London
BBC crew from London
BBC crew from London
BBC crew from London
Then we do the digging up of a huge Rhododendron sinogrande with Jaimie and Michael for Chelsea and balling it up ready for shipping. Then a spiel about layering a Rhododendron falconeri and a lot of chat beside a perfect Rhododendron macabeanum at the top of the garden. Finally shots of the new FJW hybrid between Rhododendron ‘Elizabeth’ and Rhododendron ‘Charles Michael’ which is as yet unnamed and unregistered. A centenary name with probably be appropriate when we dream it up but something for the rhodo members to enjoy anyway. Planted here in 2005.
Rhododendron macabeanum
Rhododendron macabeanum
Rhododendron ‘Charles Michael’
Rhododendron ‘Charles Michael’
Rhododendron ‘Charles Michael’
Rhododendron ‘Charles Michael’
Rhododendron ‘Charles Michael’
Rhododendron ‘Charles Michael’

This all takes three hours with ‘Abs’ the producer. Thankfully it does not rain until we have finished. Abs also works for ‘The One Show’ and was not exactly a horticultural expert but at least the crew of three (plus two on the drone) was not quite as excessive as in past BBC performances.The afternoon was spent filming archive material indoors and took three hours.

Along the way I managed a few non BBC shots of:

Magnolia ‘Yakeo’ (probably) tucked away above the Main Ride tree ferns is nicely out but not on the 1997 onwards planting plans or not as this anyway.

Magnolia ‘Yakeo’
Magnolia ‘Yakeo’
Magnolia ‘Yakeo’
Magnolia ‘Yakeo’
Camellia ‘Giant White’ still has a few decent flowers in the shade.
Camellia ‘Giant White’
Camellia ‘Giant White’
Camellia ‘Francis Hanger’, the only true white x williamsii camellia, also has a few flowers left in the shade. Another plant I had forgotten existed in this location.
Camellia ‘Francis Hanger’
Camellia ‘Francis Hanger’
The old clump of Rhododendron ‘Duke of Cornwall’ is particularly fine today in the sun. We looked at some seedlings here a week or two ago on Sinogrande Walk.
Rhododendron ‘Duke of Cornwall’
Rhododendron ‘Duke of Cornwall’
Rhododendron ‘Duke of Cornwall’
Rhododendron ‘Duke of Cornwall’
Rhododendron ‘Duke of Cornwall’
Rhododendron ‘Duke of Cornwall’
Magnolia ‘Yuchelia’ has sprung out unnoticed by me.
Magnolia ‘Yuchelia’
Magnolia ‘Yuchelia’
What a day! All for a maximum of four minutes of live TV. I must have been ‘on camera’ for nearly two hours!2015 – CHW
Time for a review of the newer cherries planted in the last 15 to 20 years replacing JC’s batch which he imported at vast expense from Japan.  Grafted cherries used to be a major feature on the drive but, as grafted plants, their lifespan is only 40 to 50 years and they die suddenly usually full of canker having grossly over-flowered.Just beyond the Four in Hand is a late flowering double white cherry which came in a batch from Hillier’s.  With all the unusual Japanese names these obscure cherries present a naming problem.
PRUNUS gyoiko
PRUNUS gyoiko
PRUNUS gyoiko 03
PRUNUS gyoiko
PRUNUS gyoiko 02
PRUNUS gyoiko
Prunus ‘Gyoiko’ above the Petrol House has a splendid greenish hue and green veining.  Odd that it is relatively unknown.
PRUNUS mahaleb
PRUNUS mahaleb
PRUNUS mahaleb 03
PRUNUS mahaleb
PRUNUS mahaleb 02
PRUNUS mahaleb
Prunus mahaleb, the St Lucie Cherry, is nearby but has yet to produce fruits although the small flowers are out for several weeks.
PRUNUS ahoi
PRUNUS ahoi
PRUNUS ahoi 02
PRUNUS ahoi

Prunus ‘Ahoi’ by the cashpoint is another winner and well worth its place.  An avenue of these  would  be  quite  a  sight  and the  flowering period is  far  longer  than  ‘Shirotae’ or‘Kanzan’.

1927 – JCW
Yesterday was the Truro Show, nothing very new there, the usual crush of trade exhibits, the light very bad.

1924 – JCW
The Truro Show. Too late for daffs, too early for the cream of the Rhodo’s. AMW’s Werrington. Lacteum the best rhodo thee. H Hodges fine form form of R glaucum. I ran it close but no-one saw it. Nothing really new but Magor’s Rhodo damaris was very nice indeed.

1923 – JCW
A few Orbiculares open, ¾ of the very few Auklandii are open. Fargesi, barbatum, argenteum and the Corylopsis are over. Triandrus (pure) not all open. No Maddeni hybrids are really open.

1920 – JCW
The Azaleas have started. R orbiculare is the best thing we have, the Auklandii’s hold on.

1904 – JCW
Picked the first seed pod Cyclamineus x De Graaf.

1902 – JCW
The first carmine pillars open, also sparacio or two. Auklandii nearly at their best. Recurvas open, a bloom or two on Altaclarence.

1899 – JCW
Went to Appleshaw the best things I saw were 33, 57 and 146, 84 and 414, also the new poet (244).

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